Chapter 1: Nihilism and the Way Out
Now begins an interrogation of Meykandar of a profound kind in which Arunandi takes to task Meykandar's central notion 'an-n-iyaminmai' or absence of Otherness as the limiting condition of Being-in the-World of the anmas that he outlined in his magnificent Civajnana BOtham(henceforth C.B) and which is said to have been bestowed by BEING itself and no other. This is also the notion of ParaMukti, the absolute liberation that provides the meaning for Existence, that for which existence is. The interrogation and the dialectics brings out the impossibility of making sense of this notion of Paramukti within absolute hetereology that always maintains an alienness, an Other. Having brought out the numerous impasses and hence nihilism of a kind as the only possibility, he makes it come out from the mouth of Meykandar the solutions to these dillemmas that hark back to the words of Appar and Thirunjaanasambanthar.

'Ҵ '-
-ׯ ' -ˍ !
'' ύ ׀
򺴳 ϴ -!
' Š
' Ҁ '֠

'Ӏ Ѵ ' ֠
' -'˿ 'ˠ

kaNNakan nyaalaththuk kathiravan thaanena
veNNaith thOnRiya meykaNta thEva!
kaaraa kirukak kali aazvEnai n-in
pEra inpaththu iruththiya peruma!
vinaval aanaathutaiyEn enathuLam
n-Ingkaa n-ilaimai Ungkum uLaiyaal
aRivinmai malam piRivinmai enin
oraalinai uNarththum viraay n-inRanaiyEl
thippiyam an-thO poyppakai aakaay

Oh Meydanda Theva, who hast come down like the brilliant sun that dispels the DARKNESS of the wide world, and residing in VeNNai Nallur, has established me in everlasting bliss by destroying my inclinations towards the Dark, I am desirous of posing some (fundamental metaphysical) questions (in the light of what you have already said)

If Thou as the BEING, has been all along with me never departing at all,
standing as the SAME, then how is that I am infected with DARKNESS OF IGNORANCE?
If it is said, it is so because the MALAM remains non-alienated and separated , it would mean that Thou standeth aloof and apart. But if this is denied and is said that BEING as such remains WITH all nonalienly, then not only it is incredible but also that Thou art NOT the foe of the false and illusory.

' 'ƍ
ô ź - æ'

chuththan amalan chOthi n-aayakan
muththan paramparan enumpeyar mutiyaa

And if so, then such descriptions of Thee as the Absolutely Pure, the Supremely Faultless, the Totally Illuminant, the Eternally Liberated, the Absolutely Transhistorical will be inapplicable.

Ѵ ' '˿
' -!

vERu n-inRuNarththin viyaapaka minRaayp
pERum inRaakum emakku em peruma!

Now in order to avoid such difficulties, if it is said that Thou standeth as an Other and instructs the creatures, then that would mean that Thou art not universally pervasive and immanent. And furthermore it would also mean Being-absolutely-one- with- Thee and hence the SAME as Thee will be impossible for me.

ҹ ' '-Š
-πҴ ' -' Ұ'
' ' ź ׯŠ

irun-ilan- thIn-Ir iyamaanan kaalenum
perun-ilaith thaaNtavam perumaaRku ilathaakalin
vERO utanO viLampal vENtum
chIRi yaruLal chiRumai yutaiththaal

And furthermore as a Reality totally transcendent and above, Being-one-with-the-Physical- World of Fire, Air, Water, Earth and Space and agitating them as a whole (to instruct me) does not anymore belong to Thee. So explain to me whether Thou art one-with-me or not without loosing patience that is unbecoming.

' י
'Ѵ ð'
; Š
ׯ '֠

aRiyaathu kURinai apakkuva pakkuvak
kuRi paarththu aruLinam kurumuthalaay enin
apakkuvam aruLinum aRiyEn; mikaththakum
pakkuvam vENtiR payanilai n-innaal

Now if Thou repliest that I have posed these questions out of ignorance and that the world process is pedagogical in nature in which through the intermediaries of a GURU, I in fact instruct each according to his own cognitive maturity or developmental attainment, we are not free of problems. For I am absolutely certain that even instructed, if I am not sufficiently matured for it, I will not be able to understand it at all. The instructions will be completely beyond my grasp. Now if a readiness for comprehension is required as a precondition, then Thy instructions become redundant.

ⴰ' '

pakkuvam athanaaR payan n-I varinE
n-innaip paruvam n-ikazththaathu annO
than oppaar ili enpathuvum thakumE

Now if Being-one-with-Thee results as if spontaneously because of a state of readiness (and through direct revelation), then it is not something that happens in the course of the developmental progress of an individual. And because of this uninvolvement, Thou becometh the Supremely Incomparable, the Wholly Other.

ⴱƳ љ'?

mummalanj chatam aNu mUppu iLamaiyil n-I
n-inmalan paruvam n-ikazththiyathu aarkkO?

Now if Thou art not only the Wholly Other (but also involved in the pedagogical processes), and standeth as the Absolutely Pure, who or what is instructed by Thee? For the three fold malas ( the ANavam, kanmam and maayeeyam) are insentient (and hence incapable of learning); the finite self being a metaphysical reality does not age or remain youthful (i.e. does experience the historical processes of growth and decay). And since Thou art already the Absolutely Pure, it cannot also be as a way of realizing Thyself.

- -Ƴ
ǀ 򺀰
' ' Š
' ׯ' ׯ.

uNarvezu n-Ikkaththai Othiyethu eninE
iNaiyili aayinai enpathai aRiyEn
yaanE n-Ikkinum thaanE n-Ingkinum
kOnE vENtaa kURal vENtum.

Now in order to overcome these difficulties if Thou asserts that these changes are brought about in the UNDERSTANDING and not in the nature of the Metaphysical Being of the selves, then it becomes incomprehensible how thou art the Wholly Other, and the Incomparable. Whether it is I who removes the finitizing factors of the understanding or it leaves on its own accord, Thy presence seems to be unwanted. Please illuminate me and enlighten me with respect to these questions.

'' '-' ''' Š
' ѹ '
㙐 -ˣ' Ơ

kaaNpaar yaarkol kaattaakkaal enum
maaNpurai uNarn-thilai manRa paaNtiyan
kEtpak kiLakkum meynyaanaththin aRiyE

(Meykandar replies:) You raise all these questions only because you are ignorant of what has already been articulated (by Appar wherein he says:) You cannot SEE anything unless SHOWN as such by BEING. Furthermore you are also ignorant of the reply given by Thirujnaanasambanthar when the Pandian king queried him viz. BEING discloses to each according to his own merits in a manner befitting his hermeneutic capabilities and because of which the modes of disclosures are really infinite, uncountable.


Part 1: Absolute hetereology and consequent Nihilism

1. The metaphysical questions Arunandi raises are profound and touch upon the great controversy that has divided the Indian philosophers for more than two millenniums and which arose a the central question underlying the burst of Bakti movement in the Tamil country from the 5th cent. onwards and in the course of which the essentially nihilistic Buddhism, Jainism and Vedanta were overcome. As already outlined by Meykandar, Existence is Being-in-the-World that holds the possibility of Being-One-With-the-World (BWW) i.e. atheistic and Being-One-With-BEING (BWB) i.e. theistic. It is also asserted that there is a GROWTH that the anmas undergo and that this growth is obtained by a process in which the Phenomenological Being of the anmas is BACKGROUNDED and overcome and simultaneously the presence of BEING foregrounded and firmly installed i.e. a transformation from a state of {P-Being~(BEING)} into {BEING~(P-Being)}. Now if the former is the state of Being that obtains for all psychic entities that they have to overcome, a state of finitude and IGNORANCE, then it becomes immensely puzzling for the penetrating intellect of Arunandi, an adroit scholar of vast scholarship and who entered into a vehement controversy with young Meykandar himself. If {P-Being~(BEING)} means the state of finitude, of IGNORANCE because of the presence of MALAM, a metaphysical DARKNESS, Arunandi is puzzled over the co-presence of both BEING and MALAM in the anmas. For MALAM, as the ANTIBEING, that which breeds DARKNESS, is opposed to BEING that which is pure RADIANCE. How can the two, as such, be simultaneously present in one and the same entity? How can, to speak metaphorically here, LIGHT and DARKNESS be simultaneously present in the anmas ?

2. Now attention shifts to the pedagogical processes that are brought in to explain the supplanting of the P-Being of the psychic entities and implanting the presence BEING itself in its place.
The notion of instruction implies face to face interaction in which the two, the GURU and sysya meet each other in a confrontational stance for otherwise instruction as such will not take place.
But this implies BEING standing totally Other ('Ӏ Ѵ, Oraalinai uNarththum) and hence not-one-with, and hence ineffectual for preventing the emergence of the false and illusory. Furthermore instructing requires standing apart and above and hence such instructional processes can never bring about the ONENESS where there is a fusion of identity. The ONENESS is neither the DIFFERENCE nor the SAME that are related to each other but rather a fusion where the understanding ceases to be different. In other words pedagogic processes alone will not bring about a state of being of the sort {BEING~(P-Being)} as it implies that BEING remains totally Other and Above and hence beyond the self-possession of the anmas.

3. Now if the presence of BEING as totally Other is denied and stated that BEING stands one-with as the anma itself ( '', C.B Sut.2,avaiyE thAnEyAi) another dilemma emerges. The presence of finitude and along with it the DARKNESS of Ignorance is an empirical truth. But then it becomes a puzzle to note that this is so DESPITE THE ONENESS of BEING. And therefore such descriptions as the Absolutely Pure, the Radiant and so forth become incomprehensible. How is human understanding finite and
full of ignorance despite the fact that BEING, the supremely radiant and pure is there within the understanding as a NON-ABSENTING PRESENCE?

4. If the pedagogical are related to historical and cosmological, i.e. something that happens in the historical involvement of the psychic entities, the problem is not over. For BEING is always trans-historical, uninvolved in the enormous manipulations of the elements of Earth, Water, Fire, Space and Wind and in the existential struggles of the anmas. As the Totally Other, Being remains forever the Absolutely Beyond for the anmas.

5. These dilemmas lead to an impasse and as a result of which a kind of nihilism emerges. The pedagogical understood as instructional makes the BEING totally Other hierarchically Above and Totally Beyond and this will make the neutralization of DIFFERENCE impossible and the attainment PARAMUKTI totally beyond the reach of the anmas. And in order to overcome this nihilism, attention now shifts to a reconsideration of the meaning of the pedagogical itself and in connection with which Arunandi introduces two technical terms related each other, viz. pakkuvam and paruvam. While 'pakkuvam' means a special stage of readiness that have signs of its own (kuRi), 'paruvam' like the seasons of the year, are natural processes of change and decay. The pedagogical involves not instructions per se but rather disclosures or revelations of a kind. The special individuals who are 'ripe' enough for such disclosures are singled out, and BEING discloses truths only to such individuals. The pedagogical as such do not exist but only special revelations, the messianic disclosures. While this has the merit of avoiding the total aloofness of BEING, but creates problems of its own. For when someone is not "ready" in this sense, even disclosed, the "messages will be simply BEYOND the comprehension of the individuals. Also requiring as a precondition such a special status of being ripe and ready, makes the presence of BEING itself irrelevant and useless. And if such profound and, we may add here, metaphysical disclosures are said to be dispensed only when somehow there is a state of readiness, then becoming ready in this way, is made totally beyond the historical processes of growth and decay, conflict and resolution. The state of being 'ready' becomes mystical and magical, something beyond the natural. And this means there will be no one resembling BEING, reflecting BEING in this world. In other words the possibility of someone becoming a civanjaani, one who radiates the presence of BEING in his personality, is denied here. If disclosures are simply selective violations and interference, a bursting forth into the understanding of some selected individuals, the gradual unfolding of the presence of BEING in the
understanding of every creature is denied. And this makes BEING the Totally Incomparable (' , oppaar ili) the forever Beyond and hence not available for the molding of self in the image of BEING. The phenomenal presence of BEING is made impossible except as Violence.

6. Now begins another line of inquiry in the face of this impasse. The pedagogical is now interpreted in terms of 'paruvam nikazththal' i.e. bring about maturation through a sequence of stages in a progressive manner. There are the maturational processes in which the anmas begin to radiate more and more of the presence of BEING so that there are different 'paruvams' of developmental stages, like in the biological.
Now if BEING by his presence brings about such developmental changes, then the question arises as to what exactly undergoes these changes. For there are problems here in view the possibility of different candidates. Meykandar has already established the Fundamental Ontology, in which over and above BEING, there are innumerable psychic entities and the atomizing ANavam as metaphysical realities and that along with Anavam, there are also Karma and MaayEyam as deep constraints that make the phenomenal presence of the anmas finite and hence given over to thetic understanding (cudduNarvu), understanding always with referentiality. If BEING effects at all the evolutionary and developmental changes, it has to be by 'working' on the Anavam, Kanmam, or Mayeeyam or the aNu, the finite self. Now the mummalam, the aNavam etc, are insentient -cadam- and hence while they can undergo transformations of various sorts, they cannot be characterised as either developmental or evolutionary. The latter notions imply not simply a change in state but also a movement towards something Yonder, and which is approximated gradually. The maayeeyam- the primordial ENERGY- suffers only transformations or modifications but does not evolve. In such transformations, there is no progress or regress; evolution or devolution; development or degeneration. The Karma - the action-schemata - being configurations of mantra-complexes, pass from one sort of formation into another and into which again we cannot read developmental progress. The aNavam stands there as insentient unleashing forces of destruction and death and simultaneously constraining the understanding so that it remains finite. It disperses itself into countless number of forms depending upon the context. So in the processes of these insentient but metaphysically real substances, there is NOTHING on the basis of which we can single out ONE as the more developed than another i.e. there is no way in which we can note a hierarchical relationship of subordination and superordination.

Now the aNu is the finite self and since it is sentient, it would appear that the notion of development and so forth can be made sense here. There are two distinct possibilities. One is the biological processes of growth and decay in which there are the aging processes. But in conjunction with the question of the meaning of pedagogy, the biological changes such as these are irrelevant. An old man can be philosophically naive while a young man may not be so. More importantly, the anma in relation to its M-Being is absolutely transcendental, BEYOND the unceasing historical-flux of the phenomenal world and hence suffers no changes at all- it has no states of Being such as young and old, and hence neither mature nor immature.

This bring us to the final and the most likely candidate: the understanding itself and the hermeneutical meaning of the pedagogical. The phrase 'uNarvezu niikkam' indicates that the pedagogical removes something from the understanding itself and because of which results developmental changes. The understanding is 'purified' and because of it, it is better, more developed and so forth. But the sharp intellect of Arunandi notes a problem here too. If BEING absolves all the prejudices finitising the understanding so that it is absolutely PURE without any obscurants that would distort and thwart the perceptions, then it makes the understanding of BEING as iNaiyili, an absolutely indivisible UNITARY WHOLE, problematic. BEING involved in the removable of the obscurants of human understanding that configure the understanding itself as finite, impure, unsaturated, imperfect, incomplete etc cannot be ONE, for it requires splitting into a variety of guises each suitable to a specific task of purification. Is BEING absolutely UNITARY or not? is the question that perplexes Arunandi now.

7. Now can BEING instruct itself as a way of REALIZING ITSELF and because of which emerges the pedagogical in the world? is the question that remains to be taken up, having eliminated all other possible candidates. But the question: nI ninmalan, paruvam nikazththiyathu yArkkO? itself contains the answer : that which is already absolutely Pure , free of the defiling MALAM, the obscurants, has no necessity to instruct Itself , no matter how; it has to be for something else while simultaneously itself not learning anything at all.

8. Now emerges another possibility that is not only nihilistic but possibly Atheistic. For the presence of the instructional is not denied but only the invocation of the involvement of BEING itself in it and hence the irrelevancy of BEING for the pedagogical. For it is considered now that understanding can move from itself to itself and in that the obscurants removed. This can be either by the efforts the self itself in its Being-in-the World or the self- removal of the obscurants on their own accord. The understanding can be taken to be PROJECTIVE, projecting unto itself from within itself states of Being as its own innermost possibilities and move by itself to BE what it projects for itself. If this is the case and the pedagogical is essentially this, then BEING as such becomes irrelevant, the analysis of Being of the self itself being sufficient.

Part 2: Overcoming Nihilism

1) We have come to the end of an exposition of the essential content of the first set of metaphysical QUESTIONS the adroit Arunandi raises more to highlight and prepare the ground for the final statement that he makes come out from the mouth of his master himself. The kind of dialectics that he enters into may be the kind of dialectics that transpired in his time in the circle of Meykandar. An overview of all these discourses quite clearly indicate that what is involved is a species of deconstruction that we shall call disconstruction, the unsettling the settled and through that introducing a trauma in the mind of the philosophers who assert positively this and that and remain complacent with an air of finality in the truth of their utterance. This confidence and complacency is that which is undermined while simultaneously disclosing the impasses that assails any philosophical explanations about the problem he begins with : How is BEING which is Radiance itself can be co-present with Darkness in the understanding of the psychic entities? Any explanation within Alterity, the primordial condition of discourse and ethics, cannot explain the meaning of the pedagogical that ultimately leads to ParaMukti, a condition of Nonalienness with BEING. But disconstruction is not simply deconstruction , that which unsettles and through that allows continuos translatability, substitutability , uninterrupted flow , nondirectional disemmination and so forth. Disconstruction as cangkaaram, does not simply unsettle; it, in doing that, clears the ground for the emergence of another that till now remains concealed, covered-up, hid behind a veil, a curtain. In other words, as Meykandar articulates it, it is antham-aathi, an act of terminating one in order to initiate another, episodizing so that present becomes the past and future becomes the present.

2) The impasses lead to undecidability about the presence and involvement of BEING and at times marginalising it so that it becomes supremely IRRELEVANT even if it is there somewhere. This irrelevancy of BEING and hence anything absolutistic, permanent with unchanging essences is the kind of NIHILISM that emerges as the possibility with the line of metaphysical thinking underlying the discourses we have considered so far. The understanding of pedagogical as instructional that brings along with it absolute hetereology, is the root cause of all these impasses. For it binds thinking to Alterity, Separation, the face-to-face as ultimate, alienation, the nondissolubiltiy of Other and the impossibility of making sense of the important notion of ParaMukti as that for which existence is , remains the possibility of all creatures and which can be bestowed by BEING alone. The metaphysics of indissoluble discourse cannot lend itself for understanding the notion of ParaMukti which is already there even before any discourse along with the presence of BEING. What we need is a metaphysics that allows the overcoming of speech and hence, discourse and simultaneously the reaching the primordial situation that is prelinguistical. The true metaphysics is that which reaches the prelinguistical and the postlinguistical ground and of which such an enterprise is called meta-physical, the going beyond the physis , that which stands as there i.e. por-uL. ParaMukti also demands, as that which hovers in front as the possibility for all, as something already inscribed, the transcending of language and hence going beyond discourse, towards a communicative situation that is at the same time non-linguistic i.e. cuththa mOnam , Deep Silence. Such a possibility is contained within a notion of pedagogy that was first articulated by Appar and Jnaanasambanthar and at the end of the impasses, the solution offered by them is made to be repeated by Meykandar as a way overcoming the nihilism that surfaced as the only possibility within absolute hetereology. The disconstruction clears the ground for the emergence of the TRUTH and simultaneously true metaphysics, Metaphysica Universalis.

3) The solution is contained in the words of Appar wherein he says : "'' -' '''" "kaaNpaar aarkol kaN n-uthal kaattaakkaalE" and the words of Thirujnaanasambanthar : "'љ ׯ ' ' , ր 㙍 ׯ'" "aatpaalavarkku aruLum vaNNamum aathi maaNpum kEtpaan pukil, aLavillai kiLakka vENtaa". Roughly these words can be translated as meaning: there cannot be anyone SEEING any thing at all if not SHOWN as such by the Three-Eyed archetypal presentation of BEING and the phenomenal presentations of BEING as such are infinite, uncountable. The immediate implication is that the pedagogical is not instructional that presupposes an eternal hetereology but rather opening up the eyes so that what is already there but remains UNSEEN begins to be SEEN and the ways in which such removable of BLINDESS is effected are INFINITE and uncountable. How the selves are transformed so that they are more mature, how they are GRACED so that they DEVELOP as individuals , the modes in which they are effected and so forth are beyond measure, a MYSTERY beyond the reach of the calculating mind. In other words BEING-IN-ITSELF or the Metaphysical BEING (henceforth M-BEING) remains a MYSTERY perhaps forever beyond the reach of the frail and finite human understanding. And this means that we can understand BEING only when and as HE chooses HIMSELF to disclose to the human mind. And each one of these disclosures are really opening up the eyes of the psychic entities so that what remains UNSEEN begins to be SEEN.
The SEEING of more and more of what is already there is genuine LEARNING and hence the processes of opening up the eyes in this manner is genuine pedagogy. There is SHOWING because of which there is SEEING , each such seeing constituting an act of learning, the destruction of the Darkness of ignorance.
But does not this notion of pedagogy also presuppose an absolute hetereology and hence all the impasses that we have met? The answer to this basic question is provided by Meykandar's rightly famous observation: "' " "yaavaiyum chUniyam chaththu ethir"i..e. 'there is only Nothingness in the face of the Absolute': at the limiting situation there is no face to face for there is NO FACE AT ALL, the FACE disappears and only a NOTHINGNESS comes to prevail. It is also described by Meykandar as an-n-iyaminmai, the absence of alienness or alterity. But how can the notion of SEEING as Learning lead us to absolve Alterity and hence neutralize separation, difference and so forth? The seeing , when it progresses from the physicalistic, then to the hermeneutic , then to the transductive and so forth archeoductively, in the limit it becomes SEEING WITHOUT SEEING, the n-Okkaathu n-Okkal of Meykandar. While all seeings are infected with referentiallity i.e. cuddu, it is only the SEEING WITHOUT SEEING that is free of it. If there is no referentiallity , there is no temporality as well and hence along with it a condition of the impossibility of speech as such. A deep silence, a silence that is not a modality of speech but rather because the roots of speech are cut asunder, becomes the only mode of communication. This is the limiting condition for there exists NOTHING beyond, which is also understood within this state of Being. There exists NOTHING that can be encountered as there, nothing yonder, there is no more the Other. There is the ABSOLUTE CLOSURE , the PARAMUKTI that informs from within that it is so.
At this stage emerges a true understanding of BEING in itself, the corUbam disclosing that BEING hitherto is only the transitory phenomenal presentations, P-BEING, the thadastham, that which stands as the Incomparable, the Wholly Other , that One without a second, the Most high and so forth. All these are ways of Being of BEING, each suited for some kind of SHOWING and hence opening up the eyes of the spiritually blind anmas. There is no contradiction between hetereological understanding of BEING and the TRUE understanding of BEING. The BEING as it in itself is disclosed to the anmas at the point of Nothingness, at the end of the complete and total burning to cinders all the prejudices, the constraints, the obscurants that delimited and distorted the seeing and understanding.

With this the nihilism is totally overcome. The M-BEING stands as the ABSOLUTE, which in its phenomenal presence throws the anmas into an hetereology, forcing to have a FAITH and consider the BEING-IN-ITSELF as the Wholly Other, the Impossible , forever the Beyond and so forth. But when the phenomenality of Being-in-the-World is overcome, where everything is transcended hermeneutically, where every impulse is evaporated in the burning grounds of Tillai so that intentionality and along with it referentiallity, temporality and so forth cease to emerge, in the SEEING WITHOUT SEEING, the ABSOLUTE BEING itself is seen bringing to a FINAL CLOSURE the phenomenal existence itself.

This page is created and is maintain by Suba. Copyright Suba - 26/11/1998
| |